Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Musings: Oddities and Ends

A visitor suing over a fall that caused serious knee injuries was staying at an Anini vacation rental that is permitted by the county despite being a prohibited multi-family dwelling with other violations.

As The Garden Island reports today:

While a guest at 3948 Anini Beach Road in Kilauea, [Jack] Kasarjian slipped and fell on the exterior lanai tile outside of the master bedroom on Aug. 19, 2013. The suit alleges the exterior lanai tile was not slip resistant when wet and that certain areas lack railings. It claims the defendants did not take appropriate measures to mitigate risks, such as posting warnings or training employees to take reasonable precautions to guard against injury from unsafe conditions in violation of Hawaii Revised Statutes concerning vacation rental agreements.

The house is owned by Gary Stice and billed as Menehune Hale. A vacation rental ad confirms that it has sleeping quarters in the flood zone and functions as a multi-family rental, both of which are prohibited:

The owners have also completed an additional private suite downstairs with a Queen canopy bed, wet bar, and full bathroom (attached to the main house, but with a separate entry).

For larger groups Ku'u Home O' Wanini is built on the same lot. Rent both and get a discount!

Guest comments speak to other hazards and unpermitted activities (emphasis added):

As you swim out towards the reef (which my 5 and 7 year olds did comfortably) you encounter more and more see creatures. Just down the beach is where the sea turtles hang out.... at least in February which is when we went.

Most of the fire detectors are missing. Also, we had to crawl under the house (literally) to switch the [hot] tub on after it would turn off. The price was right, layout perfect for three families units, and location perfect for kids. My main suggestion is that the fire detectors all be replaced and the hot tub issue (ease of use) be addressed.

And since the water at that beach is surrounded by so much coral there are no waves. It is the perfect place for kids to play and you do not worry about them at all.

The best part of my trip was my wedding, which was held at this location.

We had a wedding there, usually frowned on by the locals, but 30 people couldn't disturb the neighbors or the people in the park next door.

So how, and why, does the county allow a mini-resort to operate with bedrooms on the ground floor in the flood zone, and without fire inspections?

Speaking of fires, the proposed anti-burning bill will be back before the Kauai County Council's public safety committee tomorrow.

Bill 2573 — introduced by Councilman Gary Hooser, who also chairs the committee — would make it illegal:

“[F]or any person, firm, or corporation in the County of Kaua’i to intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly cause, permit, or allow to escape into the open air, smoke, soot, poisonous gases, dirt, dust, or debris of any kind from any smokestack, chimney, flue, or incinerator, or any opening of any building, or from any smoldering or open fires under the person’s, firm’s, or corporation’s charge or control, in such a manner or in such a place as to cause injury to the health of persons or damage to property.

Officials from the state Department of Health, which has been vilified by county politicians as failing to do its job, will be on hand to give their side of the story.

The overly broad bill got considerable blow-back at last week's public hearing, where Gary said he was inclined to amend the language to restrict it to residential neighborhoods and ensure that no cooking fires are included.

This bill was written for a very small number of people, who acknowledge they have not yet sought to resolve their dispute through civil litigation or mediation. That is the proper forum for their problem, not a new county law criminalizing numerous activities and wood-burning fireplaces.The Prosecutor's office and police and fire departments have pointed out significant obstacles, which are not easily overcome, to enforcing and successfully prosecuting the law.

Rather than amend, the Council should stop wasting time on this divisive issue, listen to public testimony, which was overwhelmingly opposed, and kill the bill once and for all.

Meanwhile, Civil Beat has a commentary today denouncing the nasty tactics of Babes Against Biotech and other anti-GMO groups, which are now focusing their vitriol on Lynn DeCoite, a candidate for Rep. Mele Carroll's House seat.

As the commentary notes:

No doubt most Maui County environmentalists are too young to remember the witch-hunts of the 1950s, when thousands of loyal and hard-working people were publicly slandered and blacklisted on the basis or rumor, innuendo and guilt-by-association. Or perhaps it would be therapeutic to look all the way back to medieval Europe, where, historians tell us, it was common practice to deal with a passing epidemic by accusing the Jews of poisoning the wells and launching a mob-attack on the ghetto.

It's great to see more citizens speaking out against the despicable mob tactics employed by groups possessed with anti-GMO fervor. And as the author so astutely notes, their actions are actually undermining environmental and progressive causes.

Over at the Capitol, the Senate committee on Public Safety has passed SB677, which gives Hawaii mayors the authority to fire a police chief for an undefined "good and just cause." Kauai Police Chief Darryl Perry submitted testimony against the bill. 

But unlike Councilmen Gary Hooser and Mason Chock, who have used their titles, council staff and county letterhead to improperly advance testimony not approved by the Council, Perry wrote on plain paper and clearly stated that his views were his own.

The chief, who was suspended by Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. in an action now being challenged in court, wrote:  

I am strongly opposed to SB 677 as a citizen and someone who was directly impacted with what I know to be an abuse of power. This bill proposes to advance that ideology because it violates the very principle on which this government was founded — that of having an independent judicious oversight body to control unrestrained power.

Currently, the Kauai County Charter gives the police commission the power to fire the chief.  It seems rather heavy-handed to have the Lege come in and overrule a county's charter — especially as we hear the cry for "home rule" uttered in regard to controlling agriculture.

And on that note, three Senate committees passed Senate Bill 793, which imposes pesticide disclosure requirements and buffer zones around schools — but only on agricultural companies. The Civil Beat, in its odd coverage, couldn't seem to understand that Gov. Ige could support the concept of buffer zones, even as his agricultural director, Scott Enright, opposed the bill's wording:

As written, the bill lacks a science-based assessment of the potential risks referred to and fails to show that the mandatory restrictions it would impose on a certain class of pesticide users is necessary or would achieve the bill’s intended purpose."

But at least one Senator got it, with Gil Riviere expressing concern about the proposal’s selective focus on the seed industry. 

Because what is more bizarre than allowing DOE to spray restricted use pesticides right in the classrooms, while prohibiting farms from using them in nearby fields?


Anonymous said...

Regarding Bill 2573, why use a axe when a scalpel will do?

Anonymous said...

The county does not inspect TVRs before the permit is renewed. Is it also liable?

Anonymous said...

Regarding Bill 2573: Why not just find this bill..." void because its too vague..." and forget about the axe or the scalpel, and get on to other issues more important that need the council's attention?

Anonymous said...

The county does not inspect TVRs before the permit is renewed. Is it also liable?
You bet.

Anonymous said...

Joan have you ever investigated how much the County of Kauai pays each year in settlements in civil suits?

Anonymous said...

The county is absolutely not liable for a slip and fall at a TVR because it allowed the property a TVR a license.
It has to do with proximate cause, a legal term, with the bottom line being that the County didn't cause the accident.

3:31 is just making sh#t up. Must suit his/her agenda.

Anonymous said...

From AmJur....
"Ordinarily, where a municipality, in the exercise of its police power, requires a license as a prerequisite to the doing of certain acts, the municipality is not liable if the licensee so wrongfully or negligently does a licensed act that injury results.[FN2] Even when municipal authorities license the performance within the city limits of a dangerous act which may be injurious to one or more of the inhabitants, it has been held that the municipality is not liable to a party injured by such act.[FN3]"

Anonymous said...

Gary's anti-Imu Bill is a joke. All a garbage burning fireplace owner has to do is put out a marshmallow stick and Voila! he is cooking. Even if his smoky open flame is to warm his creaky old boners.
But the real bugaboo is that goldurn Constitution. How is a Cop going to gain entry into a house to cite the smoke maker?
Gary and his Fellow Fat Fistee, Former Councilman Tim Bynum have always urged their minions to "turn in" their neighbors for suspicious building or grading. So Gary is familiar with neighborly disputes.
Dividing the people isn't new to this guy. Either is trying to pierce an individual's rights.
The Council should just dump the Bill. No amendments, no nuttin'
just burn the Bill.

Kauai deserves the leaders we elect. We elected Da Hoos, he is ours.
It is perplexing that Mel has allowed this to go on. Mel must use his power to manage the Council. Otherwise, Da Hoos will continuously propose nonsensical and socially dividing Bills. JoAnn will go along, just so she can talky talk. Mason, of course, is so f*ckin' stupid he don't really understand what is happening and he will always have that tight suction on anything Da Hoos bestows.
It is flat out embaraskin'.

On a good note. KipuKai Kualii is really coming across as a thoughtful and intelligent dude. And Arryl Kaneshiro as he gets a grip on being in the spot light, is also intelligent, caring and has the aura of an "Kind Old Soul".